Jobless growth and relative surplus populations (Respond to this article at



Growth can be dangerous – especially when it displaces current forms of livelihood, and fails to provide viable alternatives. The old transition narratives – farm to factory, country to city, tradition to modernity – are still promulgated by development planners and they continue to have popular appeal but they are misleading. Tania Murray Li's editorial argues that emergent patterns of jobless growth, the uneven distribution of waged work, and the tendency of large scale farms and plantations to gobble up land and expel people should be a red flag: far too many people are being relegated to the position of a “relative surplus population.”